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Echoes of the past: Cinema repeats itself in ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’

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Owen (CHRIS PRATT) comes between the mighty T. rex and Claire (BRYCE DALLAS HOWARD) and Franklin (JUSTICE SMITH) in "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom." When the island's dormant volcano begins roaring to life, Owen and Claire mount a campaign to rescue the remaining dinosaurs from this extinction-level event. Welcome to "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom."{ }(Photo: Universal Pictures)

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
3 out of 5 Stars
Director:
J.A. Bayona
Writer: Derek Connolly, Colin Trevorrow, Michael Crichton (characters)
Starring: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rafe Spall
Genre: Action, Sci-fi
Rated: PG-13 for intense sequences of science-fiction violence and peril

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Synopsis: When the dormant volcano on Isla Nublar, the site of the Jurassic World theme park, becomes active again Owen and Claire are convinced to return to the island in hopes of saving the dinosaurs that have survived the four years since the park was shut down.

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Review: Once more into the fire where humanity’s hubris is (yet again) left exposed by greed. Mankind doesn’t exactly have a strong track record when it comes to learning history. So, I suppose it is appropriate that “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” essentially takes bits and pieces of the previous films in the franchise and repurposes them to tell the same story that has already been told. We haven’t learned and a quick glance of the real world suggests that we never will.

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“Fallen Kingdom” features the usual suspects; a visionary scientist, a great white hunter, a greed-driven businessman, the wide-eyed child, the matinee heartthrob and an ingenue who isn’t nearly as innocent as she was when we were first introduced to her.

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The story is very familiar, which will probably push the buttons of those who long for nostalgia, but anyone looking for something original will be somewhat disappointed. It’s not that “Fallen Kingdom” is a disaster, but it does show a franchise that isn’t interested in doing much more than reminding us of the excitement that we felt first time we saw dinosaurs on the big screen. It doesn’t even bother to further develop its characters. The only character that gets any sort of arc is Maisie Lockwood (Isabella Sermon), the granddaughter of the wealthy Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell).

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Director J.A. Bayona does his best to bring his unique vision to the visuals and there are moments when the film works and offers a sense of wonder (something the Transformer films have utterly failed to provide in its sequels) and times when the film successfully connects with its horror-film roots. But the bulk of the movie is spent treading water. It amuses, but it rarely thrills.

If you think that dinosaurs are awesome (they are) and seeing them on a massive screen is equally cool (it is, to a point) then you’ll probably find what you are looking for in “Fallen Kingdom.”

Do, however, stay through the credits. There’s a little gift at the end for those who wait patiently.